Gary Ibsen’s tomatofest  is our website for Tomato seeds. Every christmas, I get a gift from my wife of 12 types of tomatoes.

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First Line of Defense – Plan Ahead

Garden planning using pencil and pad

You should start prevention of garden problems before a single seed is planted. Resist the temptation to just start digging. Instead, observe your garden. What parts receive sun and for how long? Where does water accumulate or drain?

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Second Line of Defense – Prevention Strategies

autumn leaves on ground

Most of the defensive actions discussed here are organic remedies for a host of diseases and animal pests. Plant Maintenance Avoid deep planting Water from below Water before noon Don’t work around or touch wet plants Don’t touch healthy plants after working with diseased plants Avoid high-nitrogren fertilizers Feed the soil with compost Mulch in spring and fall Control weeds …

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Summerwinds Nursery

The Summerwinds Nursery chain is my source of ceramic pots. Typically they have the best prices. Summerwinds carries the dwarf citrus line from Four Winds Growers. They also carry the Monrovia line.

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Mission Peak

Mission Peak gets throngs of hikers but only a few trekkers take this route to the summit — an eight-mile out-and-back that stretches out the 2,000-foot ascent to the summit (the most-popular route ascends a similar height in a 5.2-mile out-and-back). It starts from the parking lot at Ohlone College along Mission Boulevard in Fremont, California. Just one trail — …

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Duveneck Windmill Pasture OSP

Duveneck Windmill Pasture OSP is oak meadowland at the top of a ridge, 1200 feet up Black Mountain, between Rancho San Antonio OSP and Hidden Villa. In 1867 G.W. Moody built a road from the Mountain View train station and a stagecoach stop and inn (the White House) for a stage running from San Jose to Pescadero. The White House was also known …

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Dry Farming of Tomatoes

Early Girl is well suited to a technique known as “dry farming”. Researchers at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at the University of California, Santa Cruz, are among those who have described the technique: not watering tomatoes after transplanting, forcing the roots to grow deeper to seek out moisture, producing more “concentrated flavor,” and saving water. Dry-farmed …

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Christmas Plums

My plum tree has ripe fruit on Christmas 2014! The plum trees are supposed to flower once a year in March and bear fruit in June. The last two years the trees have also flowered in October. The cause: the last two years have been drought years and have been historically warm. The trees are expending energy growing fruit when …

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Windy Ridge OSP


Windy Hill is named for its distinctive, breezy grass-covered hilltop, which can be seen from many areas of the peninsula. The 1,335-acre preserve features open grassland ridges and forests of redwood, fir, and oak. Peninsula Open Space Trust, a local non-profit land trust, provided major support for acquisition of this preserve. DIRECTIONS AND PARKING Windy Hill Open Space Preserve is …

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Kale – Nero Toscano

Cold-hardy and resilient, kale is an easy member of the cabbage family to grow. In Sunnyvale (USDA Zone 9) plant the seeds in November (right before the winter rains). You can set out plants quite early in spring as long as you protect the young plants from severe cold winds with a cover. They will grow steadily for months until …

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